Monday, January 16, 2012

Kitchen Essentials: Gujarati Fresh Masala

When reviewing Banu Hajratwala's - Gujarati Kitchen, I decided to cook Chaap Ne Bataka Roast - Roasted Lamb Chops with Potatoes. To make this, I needed 3 tbsp of Gujarati Fresh Masala. This recipe was also included in the book.

While the original recipe (page 45) makes 6 cups of masala that can be refrigerated for 6-8 weeks or frozen for longer, I wasn't sure whether I would be cooking that much Gujarati food to justify grinding such a large quantity.

However Ms Hajratwala had also conveniently included the quantities to make 3 tbsp of masala. Most of her recipes that require fresh masala, need 3 tbsp for a 2 person portion and 6 tbsp for 4 people.

Since I was making such a small quantity, I did not want to bring down my mixi (I have a really tiny kitchen here in Guwahati and there is no space to keep the rotimaker, mixi and other essentials on the kitchen work surface, so these are all stored in high up ladder accessed cupboards to be used only if absolutely essential) So I used my Thai mortar and pestle and it worked perfectly. The Thai Mortar and Pestle somehow manages to grind pastes much finer than any Indian mortar and pestle that I have used.

I substituted the oil in the fresh masala with olive oil and the lemon juice with  apple cider vinegar and it tasted wonderful, I see myself grinding this in larger quantities to use in other recipes too. It tastes lovely and is wonderful as a marinade for any kind of meat. I can use this as frequently as I use my Manglorean staple of meet mirsang.

For 3tbsp fresh masala, I ground together
5 garlic cloves (since my cloves were small)
2" ginger
8 fresh green chillies
1.5 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice

While I've added the oil and lemon juice in the picture above, before pounding, I always recommend adding wet ingredients last, after the masala is pounded, when pounding by hand - otherwise you will have to deal with a lot of splashing.

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